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Published on Dec 28, 2010
http://www.winston-williamspublicatio... - Elmo sings about ducks. Sesame Street is a production of Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization which also produces Pinky Dinky Doo, The Electric Company, and other programs for children around the world.
Heaven smiles when a child falls asleep in your arms.
I recall the sense of panic I felt the night my first daughter, Rachel, was born. "I didn't know what to do with a newborn. I thought singing might calm her, but I could only think of one song: 'Silent Night.' So I sang it over and over to her."
Laurel Trainor would call "Silent Night" a perfect choice. An associate professor of psychology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Trainor's research on lullabies shows that parents can sing almost any song - "a folk song, a pop song, an aria from a musical" - and turn it into a lullaby.
What sets a lullaby apart from other songs, according to Trainor, is... "Lullabies tend to be simple in structure, have a restricted pitch range and a lot of repetition. But much of what makes a lullaby isn't simply the pitch structure, but the style in which it is sung," she says.
But what about babies? Do they like lullabies and find them relaxing? Trainor's research says yes. " Trainor adds: "And babies react to lullabies by focusing their attention inward, which often calms them."
She contrasts lullabies to what she calls play songs - lively, bouncy songs parents sing when they want to play with their babies. Infants respond to these songs by looking around the room and becoming more active.
Listening to lullabies may even be good for your baby's developing brain. Trainor is currently researching whether infants who are exposed to music are more likely to have enhanced reading skills when they reach school age. "We're finding that early musical abilities - being able to hear whether two melodies are exactly the same or differ in one note, or whether two rhythms are the same or different - predicts early reading skills," she notes.